Monday, August 24, 2015

Loss to Steelers in Preseason Game #2 is the Least of Packers' Problems

Yes, the Packers lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday in Game #2 of the 2015 NFL Preseason, 24-19.

Big whup.

The only loss that mattered yesterday, on the field, in the locker room, and across the Packersphere was the probable season-long loss of the Pack's number one receiver, Jordy Nelson, to a torn ACL. While the word is not final until the MRI results are reported, the mood in the locker room after the game pretty much said it all, as this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes.
Photo of Jordy Nelson before Sunday's game
Photo by Associated Press

What now?
With Nelson out for at least an extended period of time, if not the entire season, it falls to Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and, most probably, rookie Ty Montgomery to form the starting trio of the receiving corps. But who will get the fourth spot in the lineup? And the number five backup spot?

Jeff Janis shows so much promise at times and, as demonstrated yesterday, also presents so many questions...the whiffed punt catch being a primary example. The Packers may very well use TE Richard Rodgers in passing schemes more than just as a tight end. Myles White seems to be a likely candidate, his already-good training camp performances and chances now bolstered with Nelson's absence. There's Larry Pinkard and Ed Williams, whom we haven't seen much of and know even less about. The coaching staff and fans alike would love to see Jared Abbrederis get back on the field and make an impact but whether that will happen or not depends upon Abbrederis' ability to stay healthy enough to actually make it into even a preseason game.

Or will GM Ted Thompson go the free agent receiver route as Ron Wolf did when number one receiver Robert Brooks was lost in the 7th game of the 1996 Super Bowl-run season? With Brooks out and Antonio Freeman banged up, Wolf picked up veteran WR Andre Rison to help pick up the slack...and, boy, did he with that 54-yard touchdown reception on the Packers' second offensive play in Super Bowl XXXI. It remains one of the top moments in team Super Bowl history.

Still, the only thing we can be sure of is that as long as Aaron Rodgers is behind center the Packers will be a threat to every opponent and still is an odds-on favorite to make it to the Super Bowl.

So...we have that going for us...which is nice.

Let's hope that Nelson's condition is not as dire as suspected. But if it is, the Packers still have enough offensive weapons to be the envy of many if not most other teams in the league. If you don't believe me, check out this great article by Packers beat reporter, Bob McGinn.

Let's also take a moment to note that starting guard T.J. Lang left the game yesterday with a concussion. He'll be back for the season opener, if not before. Let's also hope LT David Bakhtiari's knee injury from the prior week heals soon; his replacement, Don Barclay -- who is himself coming back from injury last season -- struggled mightily in his first start at left tackle.

With all that said ... Go Pack Go!!!